Monday, January 4, 2010


Although L, Fang and I all spend lots of time out on the local trails, it's pretty rare to be out there together. L will often snipe a lunchtime or afterwork hike when she has but an hour to spend, while I prefer to ride and even hike in larger chunks of time. Recently we found a new way to get out and enjoy the trails together: snowbiking.

Fang is a bit too big to really run with the bikes on dry trails--it's just too hard on his joints. But the addition of a few inches of snow means that we have bunches of added resistance to push the bikes through, slowing us waaaaaay down. It also gives him a lot more cushion when running, thusly leveling the playing field.

Our early season wet snow crusted over and refroze immediately, making for treacherous and not-very-fun conditions whether afoot or on bike. But then last week we got a few more inches, followed by a cold snap, followed by lots of sun, which seems to be one way to make the trails fun again. No more gnarly ruts, no more sun cups, and all of the ice seems to have been covered over by an almost velcro-like layer of snow.

Although it isn't "snowbiking" in the truest sense of the word, what we did that day (and will likely be doing for the next two months) is made much easier and more fun with fatter, lower pressure tires. You definitely don't need super fats to get out there, especially on the more heavily trafficked stuff, but having the added tire girth gives you more control everywhere. L is on 50mm wide rims with 2.4" tires, run at ~15psi. My bike is kind of a work in progress, changing with every ride, so for now I won't bother with details.

Some of the south facing stuff was melted down to dirt, while most of the north facing stuff still has at least a few inch base. At worst we pushed our bikes through tracked but not yet packed snow, but never had to break trail.

The trails we rode are mostly newer. They have almost zero technical features when dry, and as such they aren't much for excitement. Stack a few inches of fresh on top of them and pack it a bit, but not evenly, and things get a bit more interesting.

It was a day of just every kind of weather--sunny, then partly cloudy, then completely flat and gray, then back to bright at sunset.

With temps in the low 20's it was easy to dress comfortably. A light base layer and a shell was pretty much it, although having a bomber set of winter shoes might have made it easier than trying to 'get by' with summer stuff.

An eternal-optimist-type could have seen signs of spring if they squinted hard enough.

I don't think so. Besides--I'm not ready for spring quite yet. Winter in all it's regional flavors has so much variety (once you learn to embrace it!) that I can happily enjoy it a bit longer. With the newfound local fun, L and Fang seem to agree.

Thanks for checkin' in...



  1. Stunning photos ... it looks like an absolute blast for everyone involved!

  2. Absolutely love your site. Can't believe the time I spend enjoying the pics and video over and over. Milk Money is new? Haven't noticed it before.
    Maybe one day I will ask for some advice on riding locations for several 50+ young non techy east coast riders looking to see some of the west.

  3. Wonderful post, beautiful photos. Thanks!

  4. the blurred wheel shot with Fang running is super sweet.

  5. Beautiful images once again. I think I'll go riding now...

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